Late Night Open Thread: Hope Floats (A Book Deal?)

It’s sourced from the Daily Mail, so keep that salt block handy — but, if true, it would be among the least surprising news revelations of the week. What true acolyte doesn’t assume their notes on the Great Man won’t be of vast historical (and *ka-ching* other) interest, someday?

Her job, as far as “we” can tell from outside the Oval Office, was being Daddy’s Dutiful Office Daughter. She stood one step behind the Big Man, nodding when he spoke, mirroring his expression when he looked her way, absorbing the random abuse and the unearned praise with equal imperturbability. When the old man stormed out of the meeting / slammed down the phone, she would linger behind and coo “What he *really* meant to say… “ and pretend she actually believed it. I have the suspicion that Ivanka “promoted” Hicks from her previous job specifically because she saw her as someone young/pliable/attractive enough to keep Daddy happy when Ivanka herself couldn’t be in the room — and not ‘hot’/pliable/desperate enough to start scheming for an upgrade to TrumpWife #4. Olivia Nuzzi, back in 2016:

Hicks’s job —a sui generis role of outsize importance that she half invents on the fly—involves keeping the media at bay and operating as Trump’s chief gatekeeper. But she’s also summoned in critical moments of confusion to play instigator and score-settler. It was her job to facilitate Trump’s rebuke of the Pope after His Holiness questioned the Christianity of anybody who would build a border wall (kind of Trump’s thing). And it was she who helped malign a female reporter who’d been manhandled by Trump’s campaign manager, immediately claiming she was a lying attention hound. Hicks was also called on this spring to explain why Trump, over the course of three days, advocated four positions on abortion. She tried without success to quell the confusion, declaring, finally, that President Trump would end abortion, simple as that: “He will change the law through his judicial appointments and allow the states to protect the unborn.”…

Hicks’s big job in politics started—not that long ago—with a comparatively tiny gig in Trump Tower. In 2012, two years after she’d graduated from Southern Methodist, Hicks was working for a New York PR shop when she was dispatched to help one of the firm’s major clients: Ivanka Trump. At the time, Trump’s daughter was expanding her fashion line, and Hicks was enlisted to pitch in—and even do a bit of modeling, appearing online in a practical mint-colored dress, black clutch, and heels, all from the Ivanka Trump collection…

Read more

NRAngst Open Thread: The Elephant in the House (And the Senate, Too)

Ask any of us who works in national security what to do about ISIS, and we’d have no problem pitching you ideas. Even if we lack expertise in the topic or don’t work directly on it, we’d still have opinions and thoughts, because we’ve been swimming in a sea of articles, op-eds, books, hearings, programs, and overall research and debate for years. But ask us about right-wing extremism, a violent ideology that’s killed more Americans than ISIS in the last decade, and most of us would pause — either because we were unaware of the problem or, worse, we were afraid to speak openly about it…

Over the last decade, individuals and groups fueled by this virulent ideology have committed 71 percent of the known politically or religiously inspired killings in our country — that is, 274 of the 387 Americans murdered by extremists. Reports now indicate it was part of the recent murder of 17 school children and teachers in Florida, just as it was part of mass shootings that have happened everywhere from California to Charleston. It has not just hit inside the US, but has struck many of our closest allies, both causing near-tragedies and horrible massacres. It is not a new threat; it has killed hundreds of Americans in past decades. But it is growing in power and influence, worrisomely being stoked by foreign nations like Russia that wish our nation harm. It is a clear, present, and proven danger to the United States. Yet we find it awkward to talk about.

There are many reasons why we have a hard time acknowledging the deadly threat from the cluster of groups that gather inside our country under the hateful flags of white nationalism, white supremacy, anti-government militia, and Neo-Nazism. One reason is to avoid appearing too partisan, a desire to be even-handed. There is irony in that we seek to avoid appearing biased, even when the threat espouses bias to the point of justifying hating and even killing their fellow Americans. So, after each episode of right-wing violence, we avoid talking about it, even to the point of reaching in the opposite direction. For instance, after these groups united to march on Charlottesville, culminating in the killing of a young woman, major U.S. papers ran more op-eds condemning the counter-protesters, who have yet to commit a mass killing, than those who committed the crime…

We also have to admit that we are quiet about right-wing extremist violence out of calculation. The cost-vs.-gain equations that shape our choices are simply different from other topics. Compare the professional benefits to the potential risks of publishing an article, creating a college course, writing a book or dissertation, organizing a conference, hosting a speech, creating a university or thinktank project, funding a foundation program, etc., on right-wing extremism. It is not just that there is no great profit in it. It is that every one of these endeavors would be far more difficult, and would likely create far more headaches for us and our bosses, than a similar project on pretty much any other topic in our field.

This isn’t to say there aren’t fantastic researchers on this topic; there are many, who have valuably shaped much of what we know about the issue. But we in the rest of the field must acknowledge that they’ve chosen a more professionally risky path than most of us, even though the very object of their study has killed more Americans over the last few years than essentially any other problem we are working on…

Breaking News: The US Senate Select Committee On Intelligence Goes To War With The House Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence

Apparently the secondary position of the Lajes Protocol has failed.

Back in February when the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chair, Congressman Devin Nunes, was going all in on his memo, Jullian Assange tried to contact Sean Hannity over twitter to provide him with text messages from Senator Warner. Despite texting a Sean Hannity parody account that was put up when Hannity’s twitter service was temporarily interrupted, the texts managed to make it into the hands of Fox News. No one was quite sure how they got them. Unfortunately for Fox, Hannity, Assange, Nunes, and everyone else screaming conspiracy, Senator Warner, the ranking member on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had notified his senate committee colleagues about the text messages, which were with a lawyer who represents a Russian oligarch that Warner was seeking information from.

The NY Times is now reporting that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has now concluded that the texts messages got to Fox News not by way of Ecuador’s most unhygienic house guest, but from the Republican majority of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the committee’s Republican chairman, and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat, were so perturbed by the leak that they demanded a rare meeting with Speaker Paul D. Ryan last month to inform him of their findings. They used the meeting with Mr. Ryan to raise broader concerns about the direction of the House Intelligence Committee under its chairman, Representative Devin Nunes of California, the officials said.

In a statement, a spokesman for Mr. Nunes, Jack Langer, did not dispute that the committee had leaked the messages, but called the premise of this article “absurd.”

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Mr. Ryan, declined to comment. In his meeting with the senators, Mr. Ryan made clear that he heard their complaints but noted that he did not run the committee himself, the officials briefed on the encounter said.

Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee were briefed on their conclusions in recent weeks and on the meeting with Mr. Ryan.

In a joint statement, Mr. Burr and Mr. Warner acknowledged the meeting with Mr. Ryan and said they had not requested that the speaker take any specific action.

I want to highlight something important; specifically Speaker Ryan’s statement that “he did not run the committee himself”. This is quite true. However, Congressman Nunes holds the chairmanship of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence because Speaker Ryan keeps him in that position. It is solely within the Speaker’s discretion to keep Congressman Nunes as chair, or even as a member of the committee, or to remove him. The Speaker may not run the committee, but he clearly wants Congressman Nunes in that position. And this isn’t the first time Speaker Ryan has run interference for Congressman Nunes. He did the same thing when the FBI and DOJ had concerns about providing the Strzok/Page texts that are part of the DOJ IG’s investigation into the FBI’s actions during their probe of Secretary Clinton’s server and emails. Which also quickly leaked from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. This whole mess is in the hands of two men: Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA). It could all be put to bed very quickly, but Speaker Ryan, for whatever reason, clearly does not want the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to function properly or to follow the rules of classification/declassification. The real question here is why.

Stay frosty!

Open thread.

Early Morning Nuclear War Open Thread

Vladimir Putin gave a talk today. What I am picking up from Twitter is that it was mostly about improving social conditions in Russia, but Putin seems to have though he needed to get into the “My button is bigger than yours” discussion.

Read more

Breaking: Armed Dalton High School Teacher In Custody For School Shooting

So much for good guy’s with guns…

From WGNO:

DALTON, GA. – An armed teacher has been arrested after shots were fired at a high school in a small town in northern Georgia.

The Dalton Police Department reported that “shot or shots” had been fired at Dalton High School just after 11:15 a.m. on the department’s official Twitter account.

Minutes later, DPD added that the armed suspect was barricaded inside a classroom at the school and urged parents not to come to the school.

Students were transported to the Northeast Georgia Trade Center for pickup, according to the DPD.

At 11:23 a.m., the department tweeted an update that read “The teacher is in custody.”

No students were harmed, and no children were in danger during the incident, according to the DPD.

This is obviously going to be a fast changing story as more information becomes available, especially in regard to the teacher’s motives and the actual events.

Stay frosty.

Open thread!